Michael Jackson Bringing Back My First Life of Healthy Years

I was rollerskating the other day with my two children, ages 6 and 4. It was a special day for us – no school, no work – just trying to have a fun day together. Unfortunately the fourth member of our family, my husband Jim and my kids’ dad, was not able to join us. Physically he cannot stand, let alone skate, and the idea of wheeling around the wheelchair with the ventilator attached didn’t strike me as very safe. Still, like with most things in my second life, the “sick years” as we call it, I try to focus on the goods that are there and directed my attention to my kids and the fact that they were having such a good time. They were racing on the rink, laughing with pure joy, and dancing and singing when they knew the song. But then it happened. Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough” came booming out of the speakers. I started to sing and my kids looked at me with strange glances. “This is Michael Jackson you guys,” I said. “He is one of the best musicians that ever lived.” My daughter was impressed and started to shake a little more. I smiled, but then my heart sank. Her movement reminded me of Jim. My husband could cut a rug in his days and this particular song I remember with such affection. At our wedding reception he and his buddies were on the dance floor doing all kinds of moves. I remember laughing at their silliness and thinking my future has started with this man of good dance moves. In that moment, on the roller skating rink, I missed my first life, the “healthy years.” I missed my husband and I ached for my kids to know their daddy as a healthy man, one who could play with them, teach them to dance, and tell them about famous singers.

I found it hard to skate from then on. I fought back the tears, shook myself about trying to get rid of the bad feelings. But then something else happened. I remembered that the bad feelings were bad because they had been so good at one point. The bad was sandwiched in a great memory, a happy time, and one at that wedding reception, that was so full of promise and hope and a future. As I skated round and round that rink with my kids I realized the promise and the hope and the future are still there as well. I choose to believe and know that dancing can still be a part of Jim’s future.

Click here to listen to the song and to see Michael Jackson dance!


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Sheryl Fowler on April 15, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    So true, Erica. Thank you for reminding us that we feel bad because it was once so good. I’ve had a really down day today, and needed some reassurance.


  2. I really like this post and will definitely add you to my feed-reader so I can follow you each day. Keep up the good work!


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